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Low- and Middle-Wage Workers Lose Ground During Economic Recovery

Fact Sheet
September 25, 2015 Download PDF

Low- and middle-wage Oregon workers have seen their paychecks shrink in the economic upswing following the end of the Great Recession. This decline in wages during a period of economic expansion is one more reason why Oregon lawmakers should significantly increase the state’s minimum wage.[1]

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Low- and Middle-Wage Workers Lose Ground During Economic Recovery


Related materials:

See the series A View of the State of Working Oregon

As the economy expanded from 2009 to 2014, low-wage workers saw their wages decline by more than 5 percent, after adjusting for inflation.[2] Over the same growth period, middle-wage workers also saw their wages decline by nearly 3 percent, while high-wage workers saw their inflation-adjusted wages rise by 1 percent.

While low- and middle-wage workers lost ground, the Oregon economy expanded by nearly 13 percent.[3]

Significantly increasing Oregon’s minimum wage would help lower-paid workers share in the economic gains they have helped produce.


[1] “Low-wage” refers to workers earning at the 20th percentile, meaning those workers earning more than the bottom fifth of wage earners. “Middle-wage” refers to workers earning at the 50th percentile, or median, meaning those workers earning more than the bottom half of workers. “High-wage” refers to workers earning at the 80th percentile, meaning those workers earning more than the bottom four-fifths of workers.

[2] OCPP analysis of Current Population Survey data. All figures in 2014 dollars adjusted for inflation using CPI-U-RS.

[3] OCPP analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

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